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Forms of mortgage fraud evolve with economy

Among clichés about the crime of fraud, the one about selling swamp land in Florida is one of the most enduring examples. It refers, on its face, to a type of real-estate scam in which someone is offered a supposedly can’t-miss investment opportunity. Real-life mortgage fraud is often quite different than this caricatured scenario would suggest. As we discussed...

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Your cellphone and law enforcement efforts: Part I

Over the past several months, a great deal of public outrage has been voiced over the fact that the federal government regularly spies on the electronic communications of both Americans and foreign citizens. The privacy implications of this story are so vast that they can be difficult to fully contemplate. They are so widespread as to appear almost abstract....

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Self-incrimination defense may block forced decryption

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution helps to protect Americans against self-incrimination. For example, when a criminal proceeding is initiated, accused persons may invoke their Fifth Amendment rights by refusing to testify at trial if they are concerned that their testimony may in any way help lead to their conviction. The Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination are sacred...

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Millions of former felons prohibited from voting

As soon as the holiday season is over, politicians all over the nation will begin campaigning in earnest for both local elections to be held in 2014 and congressional mid-term elections. Americans may not always exercise their right to vote, but it is a right that many have fought and died for. The choice to use one’s vote or...

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Florida lawmakers work to reform juvenile sentencing laws

The high-profile national advocacy organization Campaign for Youth Justice has singled out Florida’s criminal justice system as choosing to adjudicate more cases involving teen defendants in adult criminal courts than any other state’s justice system. It has deemed Florida’s aggressive approach to be a “clear outlier” among states who charge youths as adults for a variety ofjuvenile offenses. Florida...

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Fines, Fines, Fines, Can I Pay These Criminal Fines

Increasingly as cities feel the economic crunch of the current financial crisis, they begin turning to raising permits, taxes, and  fines. Criminal fines have also risen. When someone is accused of a crime and pleads guilty or no contest or even convicted, they may be assessed criminal fines or have to pay restitution to the alleged victim. These fines...

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Florida woman accused of embezzling from employer

A Florida woman has been accused of embezzling $190,000 from her employer. Police state that she was purportedly overpaying herself and also endorsing checks from the office in order “to make personal credit card payments.”  She is now charged with felony grand larceny. Though the woman apparently works for a medical office, the specific location of the employer was...

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Those hiring forensics experts may influence their conclusions

When individuals are accused of committing criminal activity, their attorneys must oftentimes hire experts to refute claims made by the prosecution and to ultimately prove the innocence of the accused. Similarly, when trying to disprove an individual’s criminal defense strategy, prosecutors also must oftentimes hire expert witnesses to support their claims. A telling new study conducted by psychologists from...

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Important bite mark evidence ruling handed down

Sometimes a single judge ruling in a solitary case can influence other judges all over the nation to follow his or her lead. Recently, criminal defense and criminal justice advocates hoped that a judge in New York would rule in such a way that a domino effect of similar rulings would occur all over the nation. Individuals and groups...

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